October 30, 2020

Politicisation Of Prophet (SAW) must stop

As a secular, moderate and sufi oriented Muslim, I am most critical of the regressive, radical, extremist ideologies and practices that have taken dominance over Muslim society in all parts of the world. I know that the image of Islam is at all time low in the human history but at the same time, I also know that Muslim societies were not like this for all these centuries. There was a time called “golden age of Islam”, when even atheism was tolerated in Arab Muslim world. Muslims were forward looking, secular and progressive unlike the darkness of backwardness that has infected almost entire Muslim world today. Looked in this light, it is very unfair of western / European secular & liberals to use Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) almost as a prop and tool to push forward their narrative of freedom of expression, liberty etc. Many moderate and secular Muslims like me, who are deeply critical of regressive practices that have inflicted present day Muslim communities also don’t appreciate the unnecessary and provocative invocation of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for showing, demonstrating and proving liberalism. That is akin to giving a bad name to liberalism, secularism and progressiveness. These valuable concepts of modern human social advancements should be universal in their appeal and should not be based on unnecessary hurling of insult, abuses, humiliation and provocative invocation of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to prove one’s credibility of progressiveness and secularism.
The intention in misusing name of Prophet Muhmmed (PBUH) in France is driven more by politics than the genuine desire to reform Muslim society. It is a clear case of provocation, which will obviously prove counterproductive and most importantly, it will make billions of Muslims resistant to modern ideas of liberty, secularism and progressiveness. I hope better sense prevails amongst us all.
Even for many atheists, rationalists and many non-Muslims, Prophet Muhmmed (PBUH) is one of the most iconic and significant historical figures, whose cultural and spiritual influence over billions of people over many centuries cannot be undermined. Even if one does not believe in or agree with religious ideology propagated by Prophet Muhmmed (PBUH), that doesn’t mean that Islam and Prophet Muhmmed (PBUH) should be misused only for proving credentials of liberalism, secularism and freedom of expression because these are the things, which if anything are actually needed most for nearly 2 billion Muslim population. However, the same cannot be installed among Muslims through gunpoint by deliberate provocative acts like we have seen in France, which does no good to principles of modernity or to Muslims or even French people or for that matter any human being. While, the violence indulged in the name of Islam is to be condemned but at the same time, continuous provocation with the clear intention of politicizing the issue for political gains is dangerous and equally condemnable. It is clear that the intention in misusing name of Prophet Muhmmed (PBUH) in France is driven more by politics than the genuine desire to reform Muslim society. It is a clear case of provocation, which will obviously prove counterproductive and most importantly, it will make billions of Muslims resistant to modern ideas of liberty, secularism and progressiveness. I hope better sense prevails amongst us all.
(The author is an aspiring politician and was previously PRO to Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state. Views are his own) [email protected]

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